Google Hangouts offers first minute free on calls to 25 countries

29 Oct 2014

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Users of instant messaging and video chat platform Google Hangouts can now enjoy the first minute of international calls to 25 different countries at no charge.

The app already provides free user-to-user smartphone calls, while almost all calls to the US and Canada are free from countries where Hangouts is available.

International calls to regular phone numbers are generally charged. But as revealed by Google on its support page, the first 60 seconds of most calls to 25 different countries (including Australia, China and the UK) will be free until the end of the year, with charges kicking in for each minute after.

In a post on his Facebook page, Google product manager Mayur Kamat called the scheme “one of my crazier ideas, inspired by the miss-call culture”.

“What can you say in a minute? Think of the times you are travelling abroad and need to make a quick call to call a cab, or book a restaurant, or call the scuba shop. Or when you want to call mom and ask her to come online for a video call. You can now do that for free using Hangouts.”

Hangouts users will still be required to have some call credit in their account to take advantage of the free minute.

Hangouts app image via Shutterstock

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Dean is a freelance journalist and editor covering media.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com